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Just under half of India’s labour force digitally skilled, WEF’s Future of Jobs report says

World Economic Forum’s 'Future of Jobs' report also found that automation of work will displace 85 million jobs globally in the next five years.

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New Delhi: Only 49.2 per cent of India’s labour force is digitally skilled, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report based on projections of senior business leaders who represent approximately 300 global companies that collectively employ 8 million workers.

The report also includes data provided by companies such as LinkedIn, Coursera, FutureFit AI and Automatic Data Processing (ADP).

The numbers were calculated based on the average response of companies operating in India to a question in the WEF’s Executive Opinion Survey conducted from 2019 to 2020. The question read: “In your country, to what extent does the active population possess sufficient digital skills (e.g. computer skills, basic coding, digital reading)?”

Companies could answer on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 indicating “Not at all” and 7 indicating “To a great extent”. The results were then converted to a 0-100 score called “progress score”.

The report also found that 58 per cent of businesses with operations in India are accelerating automation of tasks, which is higher than the global average of 50 per cent. Similarly, 87 per cent of businesses in India are speeding up digitisation of work processes, above the global average of 84%.

85 million jobs will be displaced by 2025 globally

By 2025, the WEF report found, automation of work would displace 85 million jobs globally in medium and large businesses across 15 industries and 26 economies. Further, employers will end up dividing work between humans and machines equally.

“Covid-19 has accelerated the arrival of the future of work,” Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum said in a press statement.

However, the report also estimated that in the next five years, 97 million new job roles will emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. This means analytical thinking, creativity and flexibility will be the topmost desirable skills, while resilience and stress tolerance are two new emerging skills that are in demand, it said.

Meanwhile, data entry, accounting and administrative support are already on the decline, according to the report.

Also read: Bengaluru start-up makes AI news bulletin, but promises media jobs are safe. For now


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